Contact forms are a critical component of any website, but testing them is often overlooked. This post will discuss the importance of testing your contact form and provide some insight into why contact form submissions are often never seen by a business owner.
But first, let’s quickly run over why implementing a contact form on your website is a good idea in the first place.
Why Include a Contact Form on Your Business Website?
Almost all business websites have contact forms. They are an essential way for businesses to collect information about potential customers or clients.
When people submit their information through a form, they are telling you exactly what they want from your company – whether it’s a product, service, or consultation. It’s a ready-made inbound lead for you to convert into a sale.
However, if there is something wrong with the design of your form, then these messages may not get sent through to you, leaving hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on the table in lost sales opportunities.
Why Testing Your Contact Form is So Vital
To give you an example of just how pivotal testing a contact form is, we recently worked with a client using a broken website contact form on their site. Unbeknownst to him, potential customers would fill in the form and submit their enquiry, but it went nowhere. The email notification continuously bounced.
Since managing the client’s hosting and fixing the website contact form issue, they have received in excess of 50 new leads through the website. Those leads would be non-existent had they continued to put off testing their contact form.
Just think how many leads they would have had if the form had been working from its inception!
How to Test Your Website Contact Form
A broken contact form not only prevents you from getting the leads and sales you want but also frustrates potential customers. Therefore, it’s essential to check that all email notifications are working, emails are being sent out correctly, and the formatting of text fields in the form is correct.
Testing your website contact form is actually a pretty simple process. All you have to do is visit your website as if you were a potential customer, head over to the contact form page, fill it out, and submit it.
If you have any formatting or user experience issues, they will immediately become apparent during this process. If you’re happy with everything on the front end, it’s time to monitor and understand what’s happening on the back end.
The first element you have to make sure is working is the email notifications are being sent to your business email address so that you can quickly respond to any client queries and turn them into sales.
This is where most contact forms malfunction. The enquiry is never seen by you and is merely lost in the ether. In most cases, this is caused by incorrect email settings, as we’ll now explain.
What is SMTP, and Why Does it Matter for Contact Forms?
One of the biggest reasons for contact form submissions seemingly never appearing is the default email settings that come as standard WordPress installations. The default WordPress email setting uses the PHP mail function, which is not ideal.
You see, popular email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook, are constantly battling with email spammers. One of the things they look at is if an email originates from the location it claims to be originating from. If the proper authentication isn’t there, then emails either go in the spam folder or, worse, don’t get delivered at all (bouncing).
This is a problem for many WordPress sites because the PHP mail function doesn’t provide authentication, meaning your contact form enquiries rarely (if ever) make it to the inbox. Obviously, this is the opposite of what you want to happen with your vital inbound sales enquiries.
The good news is there is a workaround in the form of SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). SMTP configuration helps increase email deliverability by using authentication to prove the sender is worth allowing into your inbox. By configuring your site to send WordPress emails via SMTP, you can dramatically increase the chance of your contact form email notification landing in your inbox (in most cases by 100%).
In case you’re wondering, your SMTP credentials are supplied by your website hosting provider or the person who manages and deals with your email service if this is pointed externally via an MX record. To access your details, simply contact your website hosting provider or log in to your control panel.
Implementing the SMTP Contact Form Fix
There are a few methods to reprogram WordPress to send your contact form emails via SMTP. Firstly, you can choose to edit the code in your site’s functions.php file, which is definitely best left to the professionals.
Or, alternatively, you can implement SMTP with the help of a plugin, which is much more straightforward. WP Mail SMTP by WPForms is a popular option used by over two million sites, and Easy WP SMTP is another frequently-used SMTP plugin.
For those of you not technically inclined, going down the plugin route might sound just as complex as implementing 301 redirects, which is why it makes sense to have a website management company by your side to oversee these vital aspects of your business.
Never Miss Another Website Contact Form Enquiry Again with McGinn & Dolphin
Contact forms are vital for your website and your business. When someone fills out your contact form, you want to be sure that they will get a reply within 24 hours to stand the best chance of converting them into a customer or a client.
But that can’t happen if the enquiry never arrives in your inbox, which is often the case with WordPress sites using default email settings. By enlisting the help of McGinn & Dolphin, you can ensure that you never miss a vital customer enquiry ever again.
With our straightforward web design and website maintenance packages, we rigorously test and audit your website to ensure everything is working as it should. When something isn’t working, we go in and fix it for you, leaving you to focus on growing your business.
If you would like to learn more about our hassle-free, monthly website maintenance packages or schedule a website audit, feel free to book a discovery call today.